Being one of the closest and easily accessible hill stations from Delhi, it was Nainital calling during the 3 days holidays in September. This was my second visit to Nainital since childhood after two decades! I was excited to refresh my memories and unwind in nature’s bliss.
We reached Haldwani at 6:30am after an overnight journey (Volvo left at 10:30pm) and hopped onto a local bus which reached Nainital at 8am. The sparkling water of the lake, pleasant breeze and a peaceful atmosphere felt so welcoming. Instead of hiring a cab, we agreed to walk to our hotel. We started the walk from Thandi Sadak with lake on right side and temples on left. It was tiring with heavy bag pack on each back, yet a mesmerizing view. A walk of three kilometers felt like thirty! Credit goes to our city life style. Only after we checked into our hotel (Treebo Cloud 7) we breathed relief. We were allowed an early check-in. Thanks to the no-rush-off-season.
We left for local sightseeing around 11 am. Unlike Jaipur, taxi drivers did not throng us. A friendly driver offered to tour us around in 500 INR. Ferrying to five sites in that amount was a fair deal and we hopped in.
The rocky slippery interiors are difficult to trek on. A dim bulb lights up only the entrance till you are in dark feeling the rocky walls. Trekking inside the cave can be uneasy if you have breathing problems or are scared of dark. Sunlight gushing through the exit might give you little relief. The feeling to walk through the dingy caves where these big carnivores crawled one gave me goosebumps.
Apart from these caves, there is a little eating joint, a shed on raised platform, nature trails and an entertainment point for Bulls Ride. The noisy generator and thick smoke was disturbing, but that’s how tourism sustains I guess.
Entry fees- None
Strolling from the market place, we moved further to witness the Nanda Devi festival. The rush, the well-lit colorful stalls, the cultural dancers on the streets, everything gave us an adrenaline rush. The dancers decked up in cultural costumes belong to the Choliya sect. They celebrate by dancing to the tunes of their cultural instruments and take rounds of the town.
The Nanda Devi fair held each year, sees thousands of vendors setting up their stalls for a week, selling everything from toys & utensils to home furnishing & imitation jewellery. The entire place is decorated with lights amid tight security deployed during the crazy fair rush.
Prasad was distributed to all devotees post the aarti and we left as clean pious souls. Ah, too philosophical was it?
There is a mosque few meters away from the temple, and the religions have co-existed peacefully all these years. We headed opposite to the mosque to meet Swalay, who hails from Nainital and guided me for this trip. So glad to have met him and we chatted for more than an hour, discussing Indian tourism, politics, history- geography of Nainital and what not.
|Gupshup &selfie with Swalay|
How to reach Nainital-
Nainital is at distance of 297 km from Delhi.
The only railway line closest to Nainital is the terminating station at Kathgodam which is 24 km before the hill station. Hire a taxi or local bus for further journey to Nainital.
Well connected by roads, Volvo buses terminate at Haldwani which is 30 km from Nainital. You can book Volvo from https://utconline.uk.gov.in/ . For onward journey you can hop onto a local bus to reach Nainital.